FORMER South African President Jacob Zuma has been given prison leave to attend his brother’s funeral in Nkandla.
TimesLIVE reports that the country’s correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed the the developments via a text message on Thursday shortly before 5.30am. The message read: “Granted,” the newspaper said.
The department on Wednesday confirmed that Zuma had filed a compassionate leave application late on Tuesday.
In a statement on Thursday morning, Nxumalo said the permission was granted under section 44 (1)(a) of the Correctional Services Act.
“A sentenced offender who is granted permission to leave a correctional centre remains a sentenced offender even while temporarily outside. The permission granted to Mr Zuma is for July 22, 2021. When outside a correctional facility, inmates need not to wear offender uniform.“
“As a short-term, low-risk classified inmate, Mr Zuma’s application for compassionate leave was processed and approved following the correctional services prescripts,” he said.
In granting him permission, the department had to consider various elements including what activity Zuma wanted to attend, how long he would be temporarily released and the security risks involved as he still needed to be protected by the department.
Zuma’s younger brother Michael died after a long illness a few days after Zuma started his 15-month prison sentence at the Estcourt correctional services facility for contempt of court after failing to appear at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.
A source in the department of correctional services said earlier that Zuma would be released from prison for several hours on Thursday morning to attend the funeral and return in the afternoon, or as soon proceedings were concluded.
Zuma had apparently applied for compassionate leave as early as last week under the impression that Michael would be laid to rest at that time. But authorities said in terms of the law, they had to ask him to submit a fresh application after the funeral was confirmed for Thursday.